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St. Croix Groups Vow to Take Back the Night

July 29, 2005 – The St. Croix Unity Coalition and more than 16 nonprofit agencies will participate in the 19th annual Virgin Islands Night Out Against Crime and Drugs on Friday, Aug. 5.
The various agencies will come together and host a block party in the parking lot of Sunshine Mall to heighten police community partnerships and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against crime.
The theme of this year's event is "Let's give neighborhood crime and drugs a going away party." Joyce Brown, Unity Coalition program coordinator said, "This is the time for neighborhoods and residents to come together and show their solidarity and their commitment to reducing crime." Brown said this event marks the 19th year the Virgin Islands has been participating in the nationwide program. Nationally, neighborhoods throughout the United States, its territories and military bases all over the world have been celebrating Night Out for 22 years.
The St. Croix event will kick off with an appreciation dinner at Gertrude's Restaurant. The event will honor boys and men who have made significant achievements in their lives. Brown said it's important to honor the men in our community, who are the backbone of communities and families alike.
"Our men face many adversities and sometimes disappointments," Brown said. "We want to take this time out to honor them, tell them they are doing a good job and encourage them not to give up."
Brown said the names of the honorees would be revealed at the dinner. Several male speakers will also offer words of encouragement.
The Xtaushun Band, Dymanix steel band orchestra, Vince and Larry, the Crash Test Dummies and McGruff the Crime Dog will entertain the crowd at Friday's block party. "We will be distributing prevention materials and Night Out T-shirts, there will be free food and drinks," Brown said.
Another high point of the event will be the open mike where attendees are invited to step up and do their thing. "You can sing, recite poetry, do comedy, just display your talent," Brown said, adding that there will be prizes. "We have great prizes donated by St. Croix business owners," Brown said. "We have jewelry, hotel stays and trips to Buck Island — it's going to be great!
Designating Aug. 1 as the 8th Virgin Islands Against Crime, Drugs and Violence Week, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull called on residents, government agencies, public and private intuitions, civic organizations and businesses to participate in the activities planned for the week. "We can make a difference if we work together to eliminate drug abuse and say 'No' to crime and drugs," Turnbull said.
Groups participating in Night Out include the V.I. National Guard, the Women's Coalition of St. Croix, Highway Safety Administration, the U.S. Attorney's Office, WAPA, the Department of Health, D.A.R.E., P.A.L., VIPD Bicycle Safety Patrol, V.I. Tobacco Prevention, the Girl Scouts, the Methodist Church Steel Pans Orchestra, Faith Community, D.V.S.A.C., the 4-H Club and VICare.
The Law Enforcement Planning Commission and the Virgin Islands Night Out Committee sponsor the event. Similar Night Out Events will be held in St. Thomas on Aug. 4, and in St. John on Aug. 9. The Unity Coalition is a program of the Village, Virgin Islands Partners in Recovery. For more information call Joyce Brown at 719-9900.

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